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The Terminator: SE 5.1 Audio Track -- Thumbs Down!


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#1 of 213 OFFLINE   Greg_Y

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Posted September 23 2001 - 08:39 AM

After picking up the new SE of The Terminator today, I was eager to see and hear what exactly MGM did to give this film the treatment it deserves. I wasn't ready for a completely different soundtrack.

The gunshots in the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix are, from what I could hear, brand new. They don't sound anything like the old gunshots. When Arnold kills the first Sarah, instead of LOUD gunshots, we get more a silenced/muffled shot sound. I don't even know how to describe it, except to say that it's not the original. I scanned back, put on the mono soundtrack (only changeable through the menus Posted Image ) and listened again. There were the old gunshots. Loud and direct.

Same with the shotguns and other weapons. Instead of one big BOOM! per shot, as I can always remember hearing and is evident in the mono soundtrack, it sounds like they tried to give each different gun a more distinctive sound, plus put in sounds of the bullets hitting their targets (think a more T2-like sound.)

The new soundtrack also has alot more directionality than is even needed, I think. As DVDFile put it: "the new soundtrack often sounds very gimmicky." When the station wagon crushes the toy truck, for example, the sound glides from the center channel into the left, as the truck quickly gets smooshed out of the screen. Not really necessary.

And since they completely reworked the soundtrack, why not remove alot of the scratchiness? I suppose the only thing I enjoyed about the new mix is the way Fiedel's score is presented.

However, that doesn't mean I don't like this disc. Before you say "If you don't like the 5.1 mix, listen to the mono!" ... don't worry ... I will. It's just sad that they wasted time and space creating this new mix for the "all my speakers" crowd. Also the video quality is quite good. There is some grain, but blacks are, for the most part, spot on, which is important for a film that takes place mostly at night. When you pop this one in for the first time, you may want to give serious consideration to the soundtrack you want to listen to. I know the next time I watch it, I will be fully enjoying the mono track.

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#2 of 213 OFFLINE   Scott_MacD

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Posted September 23 2001 - 10:21 AM

I don't fully agree with what you are saying here, although I was also disappointed with the rerecording of the sound effects. They are crisp, clean and for a lack of a better word "soulless". I'm sure I'll be shot at dawn if I was to say that Skywalker Sound didn't try their damnedest to make the new digital surround track as good as possible.
Quote:
I suppose the only thing I enjoyed about the new mix is the way Fiedel's score is presented.

I have a few anally retentative problems with it (I'm a huge fan of the film, so it bothers me), it seems to be a slightly different set of instruments used to my ears. Also, as thedigitalbits's review stated, there's a few music cues missing. The title music has a sound of metal scraping against metal missing. Another is just before the truck explodes, there's a missing cue in the music which raises the tension. Try both mixes and see.

However, I will be appreciating BOTH mixes, since the 5.1 is a fine example of reconstructing a mono soundtrack into something a little more synonymous with todays theatrical expectaions, and everyone I've shown the disc to immediately prefers the 5.1, and I can understand. The Terminator is a violent, dynamic film and benefits from the aggressive remixing. The mono track is for me, because I have such difficulty in accepting the new track. Also, this new 5.1 surround track was used on theatrical rerelease prints earlier in the year during a small theatrical run in the UK, suggesting that this track will be the preferred mix from now on.

I used to own the R2 UK release, which had this new reconstructed soundfield ONLY. Needless to say, it was sold as soon as I found out the R1 would contain the original mono soundmix. (of course, original title cards sealed the deal.)

#3 of 213 OFFLINE   David Illingworth II

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Posted September 23 2001 - 10:28 AM

I'm glad MGM listened and decided to put both tracks on, thereby exploring the potential the DVD has with the 5.1 and preserving the original for fans.
And, of course, thank the Lord for the original burned in text.

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#4 of 213 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted September 23 2001 - 10:41 AM

Quote:
It's just sad that they wasted time and space creating this new mix for the "all my speakers" crowd.
The idea of remixing The Terminator goes back at least ten years, long before the advent of discrete multi-channel sound for the home theater. It started with the release of T2 and the subsequent widescreen laser of Terminator; people found the sound of the original film anemic, especially in the bass.

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#5 of 213 OFFLINE   Neil S. Bulk

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Posted September 23 2001 - 10:49 AM

Quote:
The idea of remixing The Terminator goes back at least ten years, long before the advent of discrete multi-channel sound for the home theater. It started with the release of T2 and the subsequent widescreen laser of Terminator; people found the sound of the original film anemic, especially in the bass.

I remember Jim Millick writing about this years ago in The Perfect Vision. Apparently, at one point, it was all set to go. I wonder why it fell through back then.

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#6 of 213 OFFLINE   Matt_Stevens

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Posted September 23 2001 - 10:51 AM

It's just to be we cannot have the mono track in uncompressed PCM instead of heavily compressed 192k.

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#7 of 213 OFFLINE   Tom-G

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Posted September 23 2001 - 11:14 AM

I had the region 4 version and I was quite impressed with the 5.1 sound. It wasn't something that would give the dts track of Saving Private Ryan a run for its money, but for a mono track remixed to 5.1, it sounded damn fine. It didn't sound "gimmicky" as other remixes like Planet of the Apes (1968) or Thunderball.

I always say to each his/her own. If you like the mono track, fine. If you like the 5.1 track, again that's fine. It's your movie and enjoyment of the presentation.

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#8 of 213 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted September 23 2001 - 05:54 PM

Quote:
I remember Jim Millick writing about this years ago in The Perfect Vision.
Thanks, Neil! That's exactly the reference I had in mind, but I couldn't for the life of me remember who or where.

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#9 of 213 OFFLINE   Trevor H

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Posted September 23 2001 - 07:31 PM

My mono "Terminator" THX laserdisc sounds pretty good to me Posted Image

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#10 of 213 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted September 24 2001 - 04:47 AM

Too bad the LD looks so bad next to the new 16x9 DVD.

If only MGM would have provided the mono DD track at the max 384 or 448 data rate or in LPCM. Oh well...maybe one day we'll have the perfect movie format with great picture *and* sound.

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#11 of 213 OFFLINE   Tom J. Davis

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Posted September 30 2001 - 07:51 PM

Just finished watching this disc and was pleasantly suprised by the soundtrack. I really think it sounds great.

The video quality was outstanding for this film. It won't give Gladiator a run for it's money, but no EE and a very smooth film like image ranks it high in my book.

#12 of 213 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted October 01 2001 - 12:15 AM

Sorry - but after listening to the mono and the 5.1 mix - no contest as to which is more involving for me.

5.1 all the way! Kudos to Skywalker Sound for the job they did here.

I especially like the POV shots from the Terminator and hearing his scanning sounds from all around!

I'm glad both versions are there to cater to everyone's tastes.

Quote:
" When the station wagon crushes the toy truck, for example, the sound glides from the center channel into the left, as the truck quickly gets smooshed out of the screen. Not really necessary."

Interesting. If this had been done originally or even in another movie comments would probably say that the movie exhibited an excellent soundstage with great directionality.


[Edited last by Lou Sytsma on October 01, 2001 at 07:16 AM]
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#13 of 213 OFFLINE   Greg_Y

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Posted October 01 2001 - 01:26 AM

Quote:
If this had been done originally or even in another movie comments would probably say that the movie exhibited an excellent soundstage with great directionality.

Yes, but it wasn't done originally. If Willy Wonka had an original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the comments would be that the new DVD is great. It's not right to play the "if" game. I think we should stick to the "is" game.

To me, changing a soundtrack around is just as bad as changing the aspect ratio. You're losing original intent. I'm sorry, but you'll never convince me otherwise, and you'll never convince me that the 5.1 mix is the way to go. If it had been a simple remix of the mono soundtrack into 5.1 to open up the soundstage, that's one thing (although I would still want the original mono mix included.) But completely different sound FX? And, as others have pointed out, we get a compromised mono soundtrack as it is. A throwaway for purists and the throwaway is anything but pure.

#14 of 213 OFFLINE   Rob Gillespie

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Posted October 01 2001 - 01:31 AM

I've only given the disc a very quick spin, but my immediate impression of the new soundtrack was the same as with other similar 'new soundtracks' - it sounds too new. My eyes are telling me this is a low-ish budget film from the eighties, but my ears are telling me it's something much newer. It doesn't gel. Perhaps that's just my own weird interpretation, but it's a similar effect I've noticed on other titles.

That said, it sounds pretty decent.
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#15 of 213 OFFLINE   Matt_Stevens

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Posted October 01 2001 - 01:31 AM

I agree 100% about a remix altering a film. This is why it is just idiotic to NOT include the original soundtracks. Anchor Bay really screwed up with SUSPIRIA on this one. Including a downmixed (from the remix) 2.0 soundtrack instead of the original 4.0 soundtrack, is the very definition of stupid.

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#16 of 213 OFFLINE   John Geelan

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Posted October 01 2001 - 09:22 AM

Watched TERMINATOR twice this weekend and thought the movie looked great.
I also enjoyed the new 5.1 sound. The mono version always had anemic bass.

IMHO this is a great remaster of a classic movie.


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[Edited last by John Geelan on October 01, 2001 at 04:23 PM]
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#17 of 213 OFFLINE   Rob Tomlin

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Posted October 01 2001 - 09:31 AM

Quote:
...my immediate impression of the new soundtrack was the same as with other similar 'new soundtracks' - it sounds too new. My eyes are telling me this is a low-ish budget film from the eighties, but my ears are telling me it's something much newer. It doesn't gel...

I completely agree, at least with regard to THIS soundtrack.

I am a huge fan of this movie. Its one of my all time favorites, so I am very familiar with the original soundtrack. When I watched this with the new 5.1 mix, it was like watching a completely different movie! There was music playing where there was none, or very little, in the original soundtrack.

IMO, they went overboard with the new soundtrack, adding sounds, especially music, where it wasn't needed. There are several examples of this. One is near the end of the movie, after the terminator is blown up with the pipe bomb. Sarah is injured. She removes shrapnel from her leg, and makes her way over to Reese, to find him dead. The original soundtrack did not have music playing during this portion of the scene, and it made it more dramatic. The new 5.1 was playing music that gave the scene a completely different feel.

Bottom line is that when you add music to scenes that previously didnt have any, or very little, it will give the movie a different mood, or feel. This is a bad thing when the original movie already did a great job of setting a mood with its original soundtrack! I also wonder about the Directors intent. Did Cameron have any say in the design of this new soundtrack?

I was looking forward to this soundtrack. They could have simply improved some of the original soundtrack, such as explosions, gunfire, lasers, etc. Even this should be done conservatively! But by adding both extensive new sound effects, which seem almost too "new" for a movie made in 1984, along with extensive additional music to numerous scenes, they have practically made a new movie!

I will not be watching this with the 5.1 soundtrack any more. I liked the ORIGINAL Terminator movie!

P.S. The sound itself is good. There is some great panning between the surround channels. In fact, there may be TOO much use of the surrounds. The point is that it just doesnt seem to match up well with the movie! Posted Image


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#18 of 213 OFFLINE   Ken Situ

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Posted October 01 2001 - 09:34 AM

I don't understand why altering the aspect ratio is a NO NO, while altering soundtrack is a YES YES.

Is it because aspect ratio is visual, therefore consider "art", while soundtrack is not visual, hence not considered as "art", therefore, one can change it anyway one pleases with?

#19 of 213 OFFLINE   Anthony_D

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Posted October 01 2001 - 09:35 AM

i really dont know how people can actually want a lame mono soundtrack instead of something much beter...why not go back to silent and black and white films too??

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#20 of 213 OFFLINE   Scott_MacD

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Posted October 01 2001 - 09:52 AM

Quote:
i really dont know how people can actually want a lame mono soundtrack instead of something much beter...why not go back to silent and black and white films too??

Yeah, as long as they are good silent and black and white movies and they were originally made that way. Anthony, please remember that everything's relative.. and there's nothing lame about having the original mix available for those who prefer it. Posted Image

I'm pleased that so many people like the newly created 5.1 soundmix tho.


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